K-State Battles Past West Virginia In Five

  0 volleymob | November 10th, 2016 | Big 12, College - Women's Indoor, News

Match Stats

Press Release

Courtesy of Kansas State Athletics

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Katie Brand and Brooke Sassin each recorded double-doubles and the Kansas State volleyball team fended off West Virginia’s comeback bid for a five-set victory (26-24, 25-19, 22-25, 22-25, 15-10) Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum. K-State picks up its 18th win of the season, eclipsing last season’s win total, and recorded a season-high 18.0 team blocks as the Wildcats swept the season series with the Mountaineers for the second straight year.

“This was hard-earned,” said Brand after the match. “Give them credit. West Virginia never quit even when we were up two sets. We had to fight for every point. The rallies were long and both team wanted to win, we just wanted it a little more.”

K-State (18-8, 7-6 Big 12) tallied multiple blocks in four of the five sets en route to its highest output since 2014 and closed each of the first two sets with stuff blocks, putting West Virginia (12-14, 3-9) in an 0-2 hole. Freshman Elle Sandbothe had a hand in each of those set-ending blocks on her way to picking up a career-high nine rejections.

WVU clawed back to level the match at two sets apiece – a first for a Wildcat opponent this season – to force a fifth and decisive game.

Junior Bryna Vogel began the final set with back-to-back service aces as Kansas State jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and led from start to finish. The K-State defense held the Mountaineers to a negative attacking efficiency (-.045; 7k-8e-22ta) behind 4.0 blocks in the set. Vogel produced all four of K-State’s aces on the night, a career high for the right-side hitter.

“Capturing the momentum early in the fifth set is always key for us,” Brand added. “We’ve seen firsthand what happens if we don’t get it and we fall behind early. Volleyball is all about momentum and when you can get even a little bit in a fifth set, it can propel you the rest of the way.”

K-State managed to take a tightly contested first set, 26-24, as neither team led by more than three points. The Wildcats faced set point, down 24-23, but responded out of a timeout by scoring the next three points to close out the opening frame. Each team hit under .200 as both sides recorded over 20 digs, led by libero Kersten Kober with 10 of the Cats’ 21 in the set. K-State managed 4.0 team blocks, paced by Vogel with three.

Tied at 12, K-State went on an 8-2 run midway through the second as it opened up a 20-14 advantage. Neither team was able to lead by more than a single point at 12-12 before the Cats’ run. Fueled by 6.0 more team blocks, K-State maintained its cushion and finished the set 25-19. The Wildcats hit .300 (15k-3e-40ta), their highest in any set, while holding WVU to just .111 (14k-9e-45ta). Middle blocker Katie Reininger added three blocks in the set to lead the Cats while Sandbothe recorded four kills.

Similar to the first set, the third was played entirely within a six-point window, as the largest lead for each side was just three points. K-State led 11-8 before the Mountaineers tied the game, 15-15, and again at 18-18. WVU managed to score the final three points to clinch a 25-22 set win. The Mountaineers hit .231 (16k-7e-39ta), their highest in any set on the night. Kober dug seven balls as she had 21 digs through the first three sets.

The Cats trailed for much of the fourth set but managed to cut the Mountaineer lead to a single point at 23-22, but back-to-back kills by WVU’s Katelyn Evans and Payton Caffrey ended the KSU threat. The fourth set was the only set K-State did not record multiple blocks. Sassin picked up four of K-State’s 11 kills in the set as it hit at .290 (2e-31ta) as a team.

Six Cats produced at least three blocks, led by Sandbothe with nine and Reininger with seven, as the K-State defense held its opponent under .200 for the third time in its last four matches. The Wildcats also forced WVU’s Caffrey, a five-time Big 12 Rookie of the Week honoree, into more errors (14) than kills (12) for a negative attacking efficiency.

Sassin led the team in kills for the third straight match and was the only Wildcat to crack double figures with 14. Six Wildcats had at least seven kills in the match – Reininger (9), Vogel (9), Sandbothe (8), Brand (7) and Kylee Zumach (7).

Brand picked up her conference-leading 16th double-double of the season with 40 assists and 10 digs. With 11 digs, Sassin collected her sixth double-double of the year.

Kober ended the night with a team-best 25 digs, her fourth 20-dig match of the 2016 campaign.

Kansas State returns home to Ahearn Field House as it hosts Oklahoma on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. The Cats claimed the first meeting of the season in Norman in four sets on Oct. 15. The match between the Wildcats and Sooners will be broadcast world-wide on K-StateHD.TV with Brain Smoller calling the action and Liz Wegner-Busch serving as the analyst. Fans can listen to Rob Voelker call the match on local radio on 1350 KMAN and at k-statesports.com.


·         K-State is now 8-2 all-time vs. West Virginia, 4-1 on the road and have won the last four in the series.

·         K-State is now 3-2 in five-set matches this season and 3-3 on Wednesdays.

·         K-State is 14-1 when winning the first set and 10-0 when leading a match 2-0 this season.

·         For the second time in the last three seasons, both meetings between K-State and West Virginia went the full five sets.

·         The match marked the first time since 2011 that the Cats had two five-set victories over a conference opponent in the same season (Missouri).

·         The Wildcats are 11-1 when holding their opponent under a .200 hitting percentage this season.

·         Sassin now has 998 career kills, two shy of becoming the sixth Wildcat in the rally-scoring era (since 2001) with 1,000 career kills.

·         Sassin picked up her sixth double-double of the season and 23rd of her career.

·         Brand collected career double-double 67, which is two shy of equaling the program record of 69 (Kim Zschau).

·         Kersten Kober leads all Wildcats with 23 double-figure dig matches and now has 16 career 20+ dig matches.

Press Release

Courtesy of West Virginia Athletics

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After coming back from a two-set deficit to tie the match, the West Virginia University volleyball team was unable to overtake Kansas State and fell in five, 3-2, to the Wildcats on Wednesday evening at the WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers (12-14, 3-9) dropped the match to K-State (18-8, 7-6) in set scores of 24-26, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22 and 10-15.
Wednesday’s match marked the eighth time this season WVU has gone to five sets. The Mountaineers move to 4-4 on the season in five-set matches.
“I think we made some good adjustments and started to figure things out,” said coach Reed Sunahara. “I thought it was about us. We made a lot of mistakes. We could have managed better. Because of the mistakes, we gave them points that we could have converted into our points. When we start playing better and win the third and fourth (sets), I thought we did a much better job of managing the ball.”
After setting a career-high in blocks in the first meeting between the two teams, Mia Swanegan posted another career night for the Mountaineers. The junior middle blocker led the squad with 22 kills – nine more than her previous career high of 13. She hit .289 in the process and led the blocking effort with seven total blocks.
Natania Levak had 15 kills, hitting .237, while Katelyn Evans and Payton Caffrey each added 12. Hannah Shreve netted six kills as WVU finished the match hitting .145 with 70 team kills and 41 errors.
Levak and Shreve each added five block assists, while Evans had four. West Virginia totaled 12 team blocks in the match.
Erin Slinde had a career-best 55 assists, also chipping in a trio of kills and a block.
Three Mountaineers finished in double figures in digs, led by libero Gianna Gotterba’s 25. Taylor Cross had 15 while Gabrielle Cuckovich dug 15 balls. Cuckovich also recorded a pair of service aces, while Swanegan added another.
Brooke Sassin led K-State with 14 kills. The Wildcats finished the match hitting .208 with 55 kills and 18 team blocks.
A 6-0 run put the Wildcats up, 8-5, in the first set though the Mountaineers came back for an 11-10 lead on a Caffrey kill. The teams battled back and forth to a 23-23 tie, with a block from Caffrey and Swanegan setting up set point for WVU with a 24-23 lead. A K-State kill and a WVU attacking error put the momentum in the Wildcats’ favor, and K-State capped the set with a block for the 26-24 triumph.
The Wildcats made it two in a row, as seven kills from Swanegan wasn’t enough for the Mountaineers in the second frame. Four straight Kansas State kills midway through gave the Wildcats a 16-12 advantage, and they never looked back. Swanegan found the court for three in a row, but WVU found itself trailing 20-17. Back-to-back blocks eventually handed the set to K-State with a 25-19 win for a 2-0 lead in the match.
K-State took six straight for a 9-7 advantage in the third set, but the Mountaineers rallied for a 15-14 lead following a kill by Caffrey. The teams proceeded to trade points to a 22-22 tie before West Virginia netted three on a kill on kills from Levak and Caffrey, as well as a Wildcat attacking error, to claim the 25-22 win.
Looking to keep the momentum going in the fourth, WVU used a pair of kills from Evans and another from Slinde for a 10-9 lead. The duo each added another kill to keep the Mountaineers in front, 15-13. Swanegan kills bookended a Cuckovich ace as West Virginia stretched its advantage to four at 20-16. The Wildcats came within one on a WVU service error at 21-20, but Evans and Caffrey each found the court to pick up the 25-22 win and tie the match 2-2.
K-State opened the fifth set on back-to-back service aces before Swanegan had consecutive kills to bring WVU within one, down 3-2. A 3-0 run made it 8-3 in favor of the Wildcats before Evans stopped the streak with a kill. A K-State service error brought WVU within two, down 10-8, but back-to-back attacking errors pushed the Wildcats ahead by four. The Wildcats took three of the final four points, winning the set 15-10 on a WVU service error to take the match 3-2.
The Mountaineers travel to Waco, Texas, on Saturday for a 2 p.m. match at Big 12 foe Baylor.

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